Friday, September 19, 2003

ST. PAUL, MN LABOR DAY (Better Late Than Never)

Peter Newton Files this Belated Report from on the Road:

September 1, 2003 -- Rolling Thunder Tour Stop No. 3 went swimmingly
as 4,000 Minnesotans enjoyed the 16th annual Labor Day picnic on
Harriet Island, St. Paul. Rolling Thunder Democracy Tour partnered
with St. Paul Trades and Labor Assembly and Wellstone Action to bring
Jim Hightower, Granny D and Patch Adams out to speak at the event.
Jim sold out his books in half an hour. Today, his book is at No. 9
on the New York Times Best Seller list! Go Jim!

Joining Jim, Granny D and Patch Adams, were Richard Trumka, Secretary-
Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, and Shar Knutsen, President of the St. Paul
Trades and Labor Assembly, who reminded the crowd that Minnesota is
now a swing state and admonished them to continue the fight for
working people in the proud tradition of the prairie populists. Patch
ministered at rousing two hour special training session
entitled "What is Your Love Strategy" at the end of which 90 people
embraced and committed to principles of love and inclusion over
competition and war ~ personally and politically. For photos and
further reading, click here.

That's about the size of it, but one Arizonan was there as well. It was a gorgeous day and many people turned out to enjoy a cookout on the banks of the Mississippi River. I attended the Patch Adams seminar and one hosted by the Wellstone Action folks, with a group of Twinkie Deaners. (People from "The Cities" (the Twin Cities (Minneapolis + St. Paul, Minnesota)) are known as Twinkies. Just watch ESPN for reports about their baseball team and you'll understand.) The Wellstone seminar was GREAT!! but Patch Adams was a little too winded. Hightower was interesting, but the same. His stump speach gets old after a while. Granny D spoke for a little long. But the burgers were great, and the exhibition booths were great. I spent a lot of time speaking with various progessive groups in Minnesota. One wonders why they continue to vote so conservatively recently. Perhaps the book I bought will help me to understand this connudrum.

I hope to bring all of this acquired knowledge back to Arizona, and to make some changes in our political climate. The Deaners up there have a web site and business cards to hand out, but little more. They had 15 Meetups planned for September. Unfortunately, I haven't heard back from anyone I met up there, but I hope to keep in touch. It was fun, and everyone should plan more festivities like this in every community throughout the year. People need to meet each other more often without a commercial impetuous.



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